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ageous independence; and even under the shadow of St. Peter's he made no effort to conceal his Puritan faith.
He was about to extend his travels to Sicily and Greece when the news of the civil commotion in England caused him to change his purpose. “I thought it base," he said, “to be traveling for amusement abroad, while my fellowcitizens were fighting for liberty at home.” Not being called to serve the state in any official capacity on his arrival in London, he opened a private school, in which he tried to exemplify, in some measure at least, his educational theories. He held that languages should be studied, not for verbal drill, but for their literary treasures. At this period in his life he entered upon the religious and political controversies of the time, in which he showed himself a stout champion of Protestantism and the Commonwealth.
In 1644 Milton published two treatises that will long survive; the first is his “ Areopagitica, or Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing," the other is his “ Tractate on Education.” It is the latter work that places him in the line of modern educational reformers. It was written at the earnest entreaty of Samuel Hartlib, a friend of Milton's, who was interested in educational reform and in the advancement of learning. In this “ Tractate ” Milton undertakes to “set down in writing,” as he states in the opening paragraph," that voluntary idea, which hath long in silence presented itself to me, of a better education, in extent and comprehension far more large, and yet of time far shorter, and of attainment far more certain, than hath been yet in practice.” With the exception of the introductory paragraph, the " Tractate" is here given in its entirety.
PAINTER PED. Ess.-16
SELECTION FROM MILTON.
A TRACTATE ON EDUCATION.
The end, then, of learning is to repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge/ to love him, ato imitate him, to be like him, as we may the nearest by possessing our souls of true virtue, which being united to the heavenly grace of faith, makes up the highest perfection. But because our understanding cannot in this body found itself but on sensible things, nor arrive so clearly to the knowledge of God and things invisible, as by orderly conning over the visible and inferior creature; the same method is necessarily to be followed in all discreet teaching. And seeing every nation affords not experience and tradition enough for all kind of learning, therefore we are chiefly taught the languages of those people who have at any time been most industrious after wisdom ; so that language is but the instrument conveying to us things useful to be known. And though a linguist should pride himself to have all the tongues that Babel cleft the world into, yet, if he have not studied the solid things in them, as well as the words and lexicons, he were nothing so much to be esteemed a learned man, as any yeoman or tradesman, competently wise in his mother-dialect only. Hence appear the many mistakes which have made learning generally so unpleasing, and so unsuccessful; first, we do amiss to spend seven or eight years merely in scraping together so much miserable Latin and Greek, as might be learned otherwise easily and delightfully in one year. And that which casts our proficiency therein so much behind, is our time lost, partly in too oft idle vacancies given both to schools and universities, partly in a preposterous ex
action, forcing the empty wits of children to compose themes, verses and orations, which are the acts of ripest judgment, and the final work of a head filled by long reading and observing, with elegant maxims, and copious invention. These are not matters to be wrung from poor striplings, like blood out of the nose, or the plucking of untimely fruit. Besides the ill habit which they get of wretched barbarizing against the Latin and Greek idiom, with their untutored Anglicisms, odious to be read, yet not to be avoided without a well-continued and judicious conversing among pure authors digested, which they scarce taste; whereas, if after some preparatory grounds of speech, by their certain forms got into memory, they were led to the praxis thereof in some chosen short book lessoned thoroughly to them, they might then forthwith proceed to learn the substance of good things, and arts in due order, which would bring the whole language quickly into their power. This I take to be the most rational and most profitable way of learning languages, and whereby we may best hope to give account to God of our youth spent herein; and for the usual method of teaching arts, I deem it to be an old error of universities, not yet well recovered from the scholastic grossness of barbarous ages, that instead of beginning with arts most easy, (and those be such as are most obvious to the sense,) they present their young unmatriculated novices, at first coming, with the most intellective abstractions of logic and metaphysics : so that they having but newly left those grammatic flats and shallows, where they stuck unreasonably to learn a few words with lamentable construction, and now on the sudden transported under another climate, to be tossed and turmoiled with their unballasted wits, in fathomless and unquiet deeps of controversy, do for the most part grow into hatred and contempt of learning, mocked and deluded all this while withı ragged notions and
ta' 'ments, while the expected wrty and delightiul karierze: prep.co years call tren importorate; tres sereza' wa s. and taste them, with the sway of frienis, either to an ambitious and mercenary, or ignorantzeaicos con scme aared to the trade of law, grounding their par ses not on the prudent and heavenly contemplation of justice and equity, which was never taught them, but on the promising and pleasing thoughts of litigious terms, fat contentions, and howing fees. Others betake them to state añairs, with sculs so unprincipled in virtue, and true generous breeding. that flattery and court shiits, and tyrannous aphorisms, appear to them the highest points of wisdom: instilling their barren hearts with a conscientious slavery, if, as I rather think, it be not feigned. Others, lastly, of a more delicious and airy spirit, retire themselves, knowing no better, to the enjoyments of ease and luxury, living out their days in feast and jollity; which, indeed, is the wisest and the safest course of all these, unless they were with more integrity undertaken. And these are the errors, and these are the fruits of misspending our prime youth at the schools and universities, as we do, either in learning mere words, or such things chiefly as were better unlearned.
I shall detain you now no longer in the demonstration of what we should not do, but straight conduct you to a hillside, where I will point you out the right path of a virtuous and noble education; laborious, indeed, at the first ascent, but else so smooth, so green, so full of goodly prospect, and melodious sounds on every side, that the harp of Orpheus was not more charming. I doubt not but ye shall have more ado to drive our dullest and laziest youth, our stocks and stubs, from the infinite desire of such a happy nurture, than we have now to hale and drag our choicest and hopefullest wits to that asinine feast of sow-thistles
and brambles, which is commonly set before them, as all the food and entertainment of their tenderest and most docible age. I call therefore a complete and generous education, that which fits a man to perform justly, skilfully, and magnanimously, all the offices both private and public, of peace and war.
And how all this may be done between twelve, and one-and-twenty, (less time than is now bestowed in pure trifling at grammar and sophistry), is to be thus ordered.
First, To find out a spacious house, and ground about it, fit for an academy, and big enough to lodge a hundred and fifty persons, whereof twenty, or thereabout, may be attendants, all under the government of one, who shall be thought of desert sufficient, and ability either to do all, or wisely to direct and oversee it done. This place should be at once both school and university, not needing a remove to any other house of scholarship, except it be some peculiar college of law, or physic, where they mean to be a practitioner; but as for those general studies, which take up all our time from Lilly to the commencing, as they term it, Master of Art, it should be absolute. After this pattern as many edifices may be converted to this use, as shall be needful in every city throughout this land, which would tend much to the increase of learning and civility everywhere. This number, less or more, thus collected to the convenience of a foot company, or interchangeably two troops of cavalry, should divide their day's work into three parts, as it lies orderly ; their studies, their exercise, and their diet.
For their studies: First, they should begin with the chief and necessary rules of some good grammar, either that now used, or any better; and while this is doing, their speech is to be fashioned to a distinct and clear pronunciation, as near as may be to the Italian, especially in vowels : for we Englishmen being far northerly, do not open our mouths in the